The easy answer to the question “When do I need a massage?” is every week! Massage therapy can, and in my opinion needs to become, an integral part of everyone’s health and wellness plans. Ideally, if a client receives massage once a week, this will yield maximum benefits and results.
Understandably, some people may not be able to afford weekly massages. However, the minimum time frame to still yield positive results from sessions is receiving a massage once a month.
Once a client moves beyond four weeks between sessions, chances are high that the daily effects of “life, work and stress” compound within the body to a point where each session is like a “first time” session, starting from square one with restoring healing. Great progress is seen in client’s bodies week to week with more regular sessions.
Is It Possible to Receive Too Much Massage?
Some people may wonder if one can receive “too much” massage. A client’s ability to receive massage stems from one’s nervous system being able to handle massage touch. Personally, I have offered clients sessions as long as 2 to 3 hours. Some clients have handled these longer sessions well while others felt over-stimulated.
Also, some clients have received multiple sessions in a week’s time span. Some clients handled this greater frequency better than others. A client needs to communicate how they feel with their massage therapist if receiving longer sessions and/or with greater frequency.
3 Physical Signs You Need a Massage!
1. If anyone feels sluggish, lethargic and is experiencing aches in their bones, joints and muscles, it is time to receive a massage.
2. If anyone reports cold hands and feet, it is time to receive a massage.
3. If anyone feels anxiety of any sort within their mind and body, it is time to receive a massage.
Benefits of Massage
There are many benefits of massage therapy, including:
• Increased circulation of blood and lymph fluids
• Improved muscle efficiency
• Calming the nervous system
How these benefits are achieved result from the ability of the body to move from sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system modes. The term sympathetic refers to the body’s responses to protect itself from perceived harm. The body may enter “fight,” “flight,” “freeze,” “feign,” or “fawn” responses depending upon the person’s mental constitution.
A massage therapist can facilitate a healing space within the treatment room to allow a body to exit the sympathetic mode and enter a parasympathetic mode which calms the nervous system, restoring ease and balance to the mind and body.
Restoring the Parasympathetic Mode
A massage therapist may employ many methods to restore the parasympathetic mode.
• Breath work
• Soft lighting
• Appropriate music
• Relaxing scents
• And using slow compressive strokes upon the body are all means to aid the parasympathetic response, thus restoring balance and harmony within the body.
Maintaining the Benefits of Massage
How a client maintains the benefits and gains from a massage session depends upon their ability to modify their lifestyles. Adding more self-care means to one’s daily routine will keep the gains of massage lasting longer.
This can include stretching, hydration, mind-body activities and other self-care means to ease stress within the physical and mental bodies.
Massage therapists often refer to this as “homework for the client.” The better a client “completes their homework,” which really means adopting healthier lifestyle choices, the more a client receives the benefits of massage therapy and sees these benefits last longer in their bodies.
A note to clients: Your massage therapist does not “fix you.” Rather their massage provided facilitates your body’s innate healing processes.
One Final Note to Potential Recipients of Massage
Do not wait until your body hurts! Regular maintenance of one’s body is great preventative care. Your massage therapist will actually have an easier time working with your body if you are maintaining your body well with regular massages. There will be less scar tissue, fewer muscle knots, and healthier tissue to address when someone receives regular massages.